Thursday, November 22, 2007

'The Last Time I Felt Like This'

I used to think that no singer would haunt my dreams like Karen Carpenter.

Then came Alison Krauss. Then "Teardrops" and RobinElla. Then -- well, you get the idea.

But there is a special place reserved in the part of my heart forever in love with good music for Jane Olivor. Here, let me slide down a seat. You sit right there, get comfortable and I'll tell you the story.

Some time ago (15 years, I guess), while going through a stage wanting to be Alan Alda (don't ask), I watched a movie called "Same Time, Next Year." Starring Alda and Ellen Burstyn, the film follows a 25-year affair between two people who meet at the same quaint little cottage on the shores of the Pacific in California once a year. I'll tell you more about the movie sometime, but what's important here is the film's theme song, "The Last Time I Felt Like This," performed by the venerable Johnny Mathis and Olivor, she with the ethereal, haunting vocals.

The song is sentimental, but also beautiful, full of the naive bliss of love that sadly seems as antiquated today as leisure suits and 8-track tapes. Mathis and Olivor work magic as the harmony blends together. Somebody once compared it to two birds mating; as silly as that sounds, it's an apt description.

Olivor seemed on the brink of superstardom when she recorded that duet with Mathis nearly 30 years ago. She had a sweet recording contract with Columbia and was being compared favorably with Streisand and others.

But she swallowed a big dose of stage fright and couldn't adjust to the attention that came with an Oscar-nominated song and a concert tour with Mathis. Her husband's illness provided the perfect excuse. Jane Olivor disappeared.

They tell me she is singing again; Columbia has also remastered some of her late 70s/early 80s material. There are some gems buried here and there, including "The Best Side of Goodbye," a stunning reading of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Some Enchanted Evening," a live performance of a beautiful song called "Seasons" and mighty fine covers of Don McLean's "Vincent (Starry, Starry Night)" and Neil Sedaka's underrated "Solitaire."

But it's that sweet three minute masterpiece with Johnny Mathis that has become the moment in Jane Olivor's career. I hear those opening piano notes and lose my heart awhile as it soars into the sky. I close my eyes and pretend that Olivor is singing just for me while I remember a face I haven't seen in many moons.

It's deja vu; I've been here before. When was it? Oh, yes. I remember now.

The last time I felt like this, I was falling in love...

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Such beautifully written-- I feel your love for her. I hope you have seen her latest DVD called "Safe Return". It came out in 2005 and its great!!!!

5:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jane is doing Christmas concerts in San Francisco and Boston December 2008. For more on her, join the ultimatejaneolivor Yahoo Group - a great place for JO fans.

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, couldnt have described the song better.

I'm actually watching the movie 'Same Time Next Year' right now...and its half past midnight now, yes, this 70s movie has been relegated to this timeslot.

Anyway, what caught me about this movie was the opening song - a beautifully sung duet. So googling the song & movie brought me to your blog.

Yes, this beautiful piece with haunting piano solo bits reminded me of another 70s classic - Dan Hill's Sometime When We touch.

Now, I'll be hunting down the CD. Funny my music taste is Punk...only 2 weeks ago I saw The Pixies played their reunion gig in Sydney, Australia.

Anyways, thanks Jake for writing something about this song.

9:37 AM  

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